Decision Time: That's the Jakes

In this interactive feature, Editor Brian Lovett shares a scenario from his 20+ years of turkey hunting, asking "What would you do?"
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Decision Time: That's the Jakes

Postby Brian Lovett » January 10th, 2014, 4:29 pm

"Decision Time" is back! In this interactive feature, editor Brian Lovett will share a scenario from his 25-plus years of hunting turkeys. Each hinges on a critical decision. Post what choice you would have made, and then see how things actually turned out.

That's the Jakes

Times were tough in Texas.

Think about that for a moment. If you've hunted Rio Grande gobblers in the Lone Star State or heard about it from buddies, you know that it's usually not like your average day at the local wildlife area. It can, in fact, inflate your sense of self worth as a turkey hunter.

Now and then, however, drought essentially wipes out an entire year class of turkeys. And sometimes, ideal breeding conditions the next year or two result in a whopper year class. When you have loads of jakes around and relatively few older turkeys, the youngsters tend to turn the tables on their elders. That can make hunting very difficult.

That's where I was one dry April morning. A buddy had taken me to his ultra-secret roost spot to waylay a longbeard, and as promised, there were gobbling turkeys everywhere. One gobbler was seconds from being within range until a wad of jakes chased him away. Another answered my call and came 200 yards in less than a minute before — you guessed it — jakes ran him off.

Finally, after a bit of sneaking around and yelping, we struck two hot-gobbling birds that seemed intent on coming in. They looped around to our left, just below a hill, and were walking to the gun slowly and steadily. That's when we heard yet another wad of jakes approaching from the right, hellbent on chasing off their older cousins. They were about 100 yards away but closing quickly.

"Crap," I thought. "They're gonna come in and ruin it."

The gobblers were probably in range but below the rim of the terrain rise. With the jakes approaching, I had to decide whether to stay put in hopes the longbeards topped the hill or force the issue and crawl toward the gobblers to get a shot. Only one thing was certain: The jakes weren't backing down.

What would you have done? Post your decision below.

Click here for Lovett's decision.

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Re: Decision Time: That's the Jakes

Postby kygobbler » January 10th, 2014, 6:03 pm

Brian, Im glad to see your Decision Time's back. I belief if jakes had busted up two previous gobblers then I would be rather upset. So I would not take the chance on the jakes busting the third gobbler. I would try and belly crawl and peek over the hill for a shot on the gobbler.
Is it turkey season yet?

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Re: Decision Time: That's the Jakes

Postby gooseberry » January 10th, 2014, 6:21 pm

Yep. It seems to me your best bet would be bellying toward the gobblers. I think either way you were in a sort of lose-lose situation with a slim chance for a good shot on a gobbler. So, I would take chance at the gobbler below the terrain line. There are no absolutes in hunting or fishing--take a chance.

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Re: Decision Time: That's the Jakes

Postby ads1 » January 10th, 2014, 7:51 pm

With the long beards within shooting range but hidden, I would be inclined to stay put because trying to get closer might spook them. Even if the jakes run them off I could always circle around and try to intersect them.

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Re: Decision Time: That's the Jakes

Postby dewey » January 10th, 2014, 10:58 pm

Hey Brian I am glad decision time is back again. I think I would just stay put because if you start belly crawling to the top of the hill at the same time the gobbler crests the hill he may catch you without your fun ready to fire.

"Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will." --Mahatma Gandhi

"Never confuse a single defeat with a final defeat."--F. Scott Fitzgerald, American writer


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Re: Decision Time: That's the Jakes

Postby Treerooster » January 10th, 2014, 11:16 pm

Wait for the jakes to get in range, then line those SOB's up and see how many you can get in one shot.

OK just kidding. :D I think I might force the issue and crawl towards the gobblers.

I had a situation similar to this, with wads of jakes running around, happen one spring in Wis. It certainly can be frustrating.
As far as this turkey thing......I know know enough...that I don't know enough

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Re: Decision Time: That's the Jakes

Postby WillowRidgeCalls » January 14th, 2014, 10:36 am

With the gobblers hidden below the rise and out of sight, I may have tried to bust the jakes up somehow, if they were close enough to see you, wave at them and run them off, and keep working the longbeards as long as they were coming and couldn't see the jake group?

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Re: Decision Time: That's the Jakes

Postby timbrhuntr » January 14th, 2014, 3:41 pm

Since you could kill 4 birds and my buddy the land manager wanted some turkeys for the smoker, I killed 3 of the biggest pushiest jakes and then went out the next day and killed a nice tom ;)

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